Filmmakers talk incentives at Tucson festival - Tucson News Now

Filmmakers talk incentives at Tucson festival

(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
When actor/director Desmond Devenish wanted a believable, gritty desert feel for his film "Misfortune," he chose Tucson. (Source: Gunnison Films) When actor/director Desmond Devenish wanted a believable, gritty desert feel for his film "Misfortune," he chose Tucson. (Source: Gunnison Films)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

When Desmond Devenish wanted a believable, gritty desert feel for his film "Misfortune," the actor/director knew Tucson was the place.

"There's something very beautiful about this place," he said. "There's just something magical about it."

His film premieres Friday night, April 29, at The Screening Room in downtown Tucson as part of the Arizona International Film Festival. The event attracts shorts and features from around the world.

Southern Arizona continues to attract production crews, according to the Tucson Film Office. Records show 37 different film projects with a direct spending of $4.2 million have worked in the Tucson area so far this year. Most of those are episodes or commercials.

But southern Arizona is missing out on the big-budget features from larger studios, according to Film Tucson Director Shelli Hall.

She said the only reason Tucson misses out on big productions is a lack of tax incentives.

Devenish said he thoroughly enjoyed the filmmaking experience in Tucson. Local producer Roger Steilin helped connect Devenish with locations, crew members and the community as a whole.

"If someone wants to come to Tucson and make a film, all you need is an idea, a dream, and a checkbook," he said. "Everything is here."

Even a place to screen your production. Mia Schnaible with the Arizona International Film Festival said southern Arizona shows support for the film industry by attending the festival. She said the festival has worked with teams from nearly 90 countries over the last 25 years. This time around, she's seeing a new trend in attendance.

"We have a great audiences," said Schnaible. "The cool thing this year is were having more patrons by the pass and seeing film after film. Instead of seeing one film, they're seeing 10, 20 or in some cases all hundred."

Film incentives are not unthinkable in Arizona, according to State Rep Stefanie Mach. She said a bill has been introduced every year for the last several years, but the wording hasn't been right.

Neither has the timing. Mach said this is the first year that the state's enjoyed a surplus, which would work favorably for film incentives. However, she said it all depends on what her fellow lawmakers decide are the top priorities.

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